Instagram Lead Generation: Get email subscribers on Instagram
Sales & Marketing

Instagram Lead Generation: Get email subscribers on Instagram

We love getting more Instagram followers, but if we can't convert them to customers then they're not valuable. We need effective lead generation from Instagram.

But how can we do effective lead generation through Instagram to turn Instagram followers into customers? In this guide we'll cover the best way to do it. Let's dive in.

In this guide we'll cover 🤔

  • How to turn Instagram followers into leads & email subscribers
  • How to use Instagram for lead generation
  • The best Instagram lead generation tool
  • How to make Instagram users want to give you their email address
  • The #1 way to get emails & grow followers (at the same time)
  • How to make sure the email addresses you get are valid (not fake )
  • How to reach more prospects & get more leads with collabs
  • Ideas for your next Instagram marketing campaign
  • What Instagram lead generation software you should use

Instagram gets 4X more engagement than any other social network and has one of the largest user bases (billions of users!). Today, nothing beats Instagram for lead generation. After reading this guide, you'll know the best way to tap into that opportunity to get more leads, subscribers, and sales.


Why email subscribers are more valuable than social followers

Social media marketing and email marketing go hand in hand. In general, social media is for discovery, and email marketing is for conversion (sales). So, let's talk about why.

Why it's easier to monetize email subscribers than social followers

People generally browse social media in their free time. It's entertainment, just like TV. So, use social media well, and you'll grow your following and get discovered by more people.

But because social is for browsing, it's harder to convert those followers into customers. For example, the average engagement rate on Instagram is just 0.8%. It's low because it's less purpose-driven than email, which is a direct connection to customers.

On the other hand, the average email open rate is around 20%, which is much higher than the 0.8% engagement rate of Instagram. That's why email marketing is more effective at conversion than social media.

When it comes to marketing ROI, social is still good, with an ROI of 28%. But the ROI on email marketing is a whopping 3800%. That means for every $1 you invest in email marketing you make $38!

That's why social media marketing on Instagram and email marketing work so well together: Grow your audience on Instagram, then convert them into email subscribers to drive sales. You need both for an effective marketing strategy.

The power of owning the customer relationship

The most important thing about email marketing is that you own your email list. Your email list is a valuable asset representing a direct relationship with your customers--it is their permission to market directly to them.

Social media is different because somebody else owns the platform. If the social platform shuts down or closes your account, you lose access to all your customers, and your business will suffer.

But email is different: you'll always have access to your email list, and you can move it to any email marketing provider. That's the power of owning the customer relationship.

However, getting discovered and building an email list is hard. That's why we leverage social media for discovery. Social media is where people discover your brand. Then you convert those followers into email subscribers to nurture and grow that relationship, eventually converting them into loyal customers.

But how do you get your Instagram followers to give you their email addresses? That's what we'll cover next.

How to make Instagram users want to give you their email address

When engaged the right way, on average around 41% of Instagram users who comment on your posts are willing to give you their email address.

What if you could make your Instagram followers want to give you their email addresses to subscribe to your newsletter or become leads? Wouldn't that be amazing? Well, you can!

Rather than beg your followers to give you their email, you need to engage and incentivize:

  1. Engage: Engage your followers where they are, in ways they love.
  2. Incentivize: Use the right incentives to get people on your email list.

Engaging users where they are in ways they love

Instagram has the highest engagement rate of all the social networks for a reason. People are there because they want to be engaged, and Instagram is the best at facilitating that.

So, leverage Instagram's native engagement functionality for likes, follows, tags and comments to engage your users. We'll talk more about the best way to do this later in the guide.

Incentivize followers to join your email list

Humans operate based on incentives: You work to earn money. You follow laws, so you don't go to jail. You eat, so you're not hungry. These are all incentive-based behaviors, as most human behaviors are.

So, what incentive are you giving your Instagram followers to sign up for your email list? There are multiple ways to do this, but there's only one best way, which we'll cover next.

How to do lead generation on Instagram

As we covered above, to turn Instagram followers into email subscribers and get leads on Instagram, we must 1) engage users where they are in ways they love and 2) incentivize them to become email subscribers. So how can we do both?

We do this by leveraging the best engagement and growth strategy on Instagram: Instagram giveaways.

You've probably seen Instagram giveaways and maybe even participated in a few. But we're not running giveaways for fun here--we're running giveaways with a specific purpose: To generate leads and turn Instagram followers into email subscribers and customers.

If you've never run an Instagram giveaway before, we wrote an in-depth Instagram giveaway guide here that you may want to review first. But here's the gist:

  1. Instagram giveaways incentivize users to act (follow giveaway rules) for a chance to win a prize.
  2. Giveaway rules should maximize engagement, follower growth, and getting leads or email subscribers (example below).
  3. Use a giveaway prize only your target customer would want (inexpensive prizes are ok).
  4. The typical Instagram giveaway length is 2-3 days (up to 1 week for collabs or expensive prizes if you continue boosting).
  5. Overlay the text 'GIVEAWAY' on your Instagram post, so it catches attention as users scroll their feeds.

Those are just a few tips on running a good Instagram giveaway. For more guidance and a comprehensive checklist, check out our free Instagram giveaway guide.

When planning your Instagram giveaway, the most important thing to get right is the Instagram giveaway rules you use. They must be easy to follow and achieve your business goals. To maximize entries, follower growth, and email subscribers, we recommend using the following giveaway rules for entry criteria:

Example Instagram giveaway rules template to get email subscribers

  1. Follow me
  2. Tag 2 friends in the comments
  3. Subscribe to my newsletter (LINK IN BIO!) for 10 BONUS entries

Now, let's break down why we use each rule:

  • Follow me: Getting more followers grows your audience. And when people tag their friends, their friends will also follow you if they want to enter your giveaway.
  • Tag 2 friends in the comments: This helps your post go viral and grow faster when all entrants tag their friends, who will tag more friends.
  • Subscribe to my newsletter: This is the most important rule since it directly turns your Instagram followers into valuable email subscribers and leads. This step is last because if you've already completed the above steps, you're committed and more likely to complete this step too.

We've focused on growing email subscribers to get more customers so far, but a lovely side effect of Instagram giveaways is that this will also grow your Instagram following, which will also help you get more email subscribers in the future. It's a cycle that continually builds on itself!

Depending on your process, you can run Instagram giveaways 2-4 times per month to maximize growth without overdoing it.

It may seem overwhelming but running Instagram giveaways is quite easy once you get your process down. And speaking of process, next, we'll cover how to simplify the Instagram giveaway process.

How to manage an Instagram lead campaign the easy way

If you have hundreds or thousands of giveaway entries, it might seem overwhelming to track all of those and determine who has completed all the giveaway entry steps.

But our Instagram lead generation tool will do this for you automatically and we'll cover more on this later. In addition to collecting and checking entries, it will also pick a random winner based on who has completed all your giveaway entry criteria.

We covered why Instagram giveaways are the best way to get email subscribers, leads, and customers through Instagram. But this only works if the email addresses you get from your giveaways are valid. If you only get fake email addresses, you'll never be able to monetize and turn your followers into customers. Next, we'll cover how to do that.

How to verify & validate the leads you get from Instagram

We've all used fake emails when signing up for email lists before, everybody does it. But for your business, you want high-quality leads, especially if you're giving away a prize that you've spent your hard-earned money on.

You need to make sure the emails you're getting are valid. So, how can you do this? Even batter, how can you do it automatically?

How to make sure the emails you get are valid (not fake)

Some people use fake email addresses. Some people make mistakes and accidentally enter the wrong email address or make types. So how do we fix this?

Instagram lead generation software tools like POPSMASH use double opt-in verification to validate email addresses. That means it automatically sends an email to the address entered and users do not get their bonus points until the  email address is verified.

This also relates to the next important step related to measuring your campaign's ROI: Making sure only those who subscribed to your mailing list are entered to win your giveaway (or counted as bonus entries). The most important part is tying the conversion (subscribing to your email list) to the giveaway entry.

How to match email address opt-ins (conversions) to giveaway entries to measure ROI

For your campaign to work, you need to measure how many valid entries you're getting that are converting to email subscribers. This is the process of tying the email newsletter opt-in (the conversion) to the giveaway entry on your Instagram post to 1) ensure the entry is valid and 2) measure how effective your campaign is.

Remember from the last section how POPSMASH can validate email addresses for you? Well, it can also tie those email addresses to Instagram users at the same time so you can confirm who and how many people have completed your giveaway rules.

Now we see how this all works together:

  1. Run an Instagram giveaway with a rule requiring users to tag friends and subscribe to your email list
  2. Validate tags and email addresses on entry with a 3rd-party service
  3. Match email addresses to giveaway entries (Instagram account) to ensure only valid entries are eligible
  4. Measure ROI from followers giveaway entries email opt-ins to track conversions

That's why we built POPSMASH to do this for you automatically: you just post your giveaway, and we do the rest.

But do you know what would make this whole process even better? Expanding your reach by collaborating with others in your industry or with complementary businesses. So, let's talk about how.

How to maximize the reach of your Instagram lead generation efforts

We always want to reach more potential customers, but organic Instagram engagement is often very low. There are the basic tactics, like use reels, post at peak times, use Instagram stories to remind followers of your lead generation campaigns and more, but what else can you do? Here are some ideas.

What if I don't have a big Instagram audience?

It might seem like you need a large audience to use this technique, but that's not true. Why? Because you can collaborate with others and leverage their audience to get more email subscribers or leads, plus grow your own Instagram audience.

This is one of the most underrated Instagram hacks of all time because you get access to millions of Instagram followers without putting in the work to grow your following. Instead, you pay others (e.g., influencers in your niche) with a relevant audience to borrow their following and create highly targeted traffic.

New to Instagram collabs? No problem! Let's talk next about using Instagram collabs to grow your email list and get leads.

How do I reach new people beyond my Instagram follower base?

What if you already have the contact info from most of your subscribers, how do you reach new people? That's where collabs with other businesses and influencers help expand your reach and give you access to new potential customers.

This is especially useful when launching new product lines or trying to reach new target markets. Next, we'll talk about how to use collabs to expand your reach.

How to get even more subscribers & leads with collabs

You might have a large audience, but with over 1 billion people on Instagram, there are always more potential customers out there. Collabs (short for collaborations) help you tap into a broader audience to maximize your reach.

Instagram collabs work by partnering with other Instagram accounts with similar audiences (e.g., complementary industry or the same local service area).

There are two general ways:

If you're just partnering with one person you may want to consider a collab (coauthored) post.

In the past, Instagram giveaway collabs required multiple posts: One from each person running the giveaway. But thanks to Instagram's new collabs feature, you have the option to share one post, which makes the process much easier and consolidates engagement for a huge boost.

Collab (coauthored) posts are limited to just one partner for now, so if you want to collab with more than one partner you'll have to each make your own Instagram post. But regardless, the steps are the same aside from the number of posts used.

Instagram giveaway rules for collabs are similar, except you'll also include your collaborators (example below). So, for example, instead of just saying 'Follow me' as a giveaway entry rule, you'd say 'Follow @soandso and me" to include your collaborator(s) usernames. Here's an example:

Example Instagram giveaway collab rules template to get email subscribers & leads

  1. Follow @soandso and me
  2. Tag 2 friends in the comments
  3. Subscribe to our newsletters (LINK IN BIO!) for 10 BONUS entries!

Your collaborators should post something similar, then you'll gain more followers and subscribers from each other's posts. It's magical :)

Things can get complex fast, so try to keep it simple. POPSMASH also helps with this by automatically tracking entries and email opt-ins for all involved across all posts.

For more tips on running Instagram giveaway collabs for broader reach, see the collabs section of our Instagram giveaway guide.

Other opportunities for using Instagram to get more leads, emails & customers

There are many opportunities to leverage Instagram to get more email subscribers, leads, and customers for your own business or your clients. Here are some examples:

  • Get subscribers for a paid newsletter
  • Grow an email list for your online store (see our Shopify lead gen guide)
  • Build a startup pre-launch list
  • Generate momentum for a product launch campaign
  • Build a following for Creator merch/swag offerings
  • Build a targeted lead gen list for your industry

These are just a few ideas, but thanks to the breadth of social media, there are opportunities to get more leads and email subscribers with Instagram for any industry!

Paid ads (Instagram lead ads) vs. organic lead generation on Instagram

Both paid and organic lead generation on Instagram can help your business grow. For example, if you have a special event and want to boost interest you can buy targeted Instagram ads. Or to specifically generate and qualify paid leads, you may use Instagram lead generation ads (also called Lead Ads on Instagram and Facebook).

These IG lead generation ads include an Instagram lead generation form to collect and qualify leads. This Instagram lead form allows you to ask certain questions to qualify your leads as well as collect additional information. These Instagram lead form ads are certainly effective and it's helpful that they are integrated into Instagram/Facebook/Meta paid ad offerings.

But a more affordable and scalable way is to use organic methods like hosting giveaways that drive engagement and deepen the connection with your audience. In fact, it's often better to find the organic Instagram lead generation methods that work the best, then augment them with paid Instagram ads to get the best of both worlds.

The other benefit to using organic lead generation on Instagram is that it does more than just get leads, it's also great at growing followers which has compounding long-term benefits.

What Instagram lead generation software tool should you use?

Today the POPSMASH lead generation tool is the only lead generation software specifically built for generating leads on Instagram aside from paid (inorganic) Instagram lead gen ads.

Why use POPSMASH for Instagram lead generation?

We write a lot about lead gen on Instagram because we're experts on it. We've been working on better ways to generate leads from Instagram for years and have data from thousands of campaigns. We know what works.

Celebrities like the Kardashians use the same tactics, but those campaigns cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes, partnerships, and coordination. Why? Because it works insanely well.

The POPSMASH lead generation tool democratizes that opportunity so anyone can use it: Businesses can use it to get more leads and Creators can use it to earn more from collabs.

Here's a quick list of benefits that make POPSMASH the best tool for Instagram lead capture:

  • Collect entries from Instagram comments
  • Check tags (tagging friends) in Instagram comments
  • Consolidate duplicate entries
  • Collect email addresses from entrants
  • Award bonus entries for qualifying actions
  • Validate email addresses with double opt-in
  • Pick random winners from entries (including bonus entries)
  • Provide post-giveaway funnel conversion stats & performance data

That all happens automatically for every lead gen campaign you run with POPSMASH. That's why it's the best tool for Instagram lead generation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Instagram Lead Generation

There's a ton of content in this guide, so we summarized answers to the top questions we get below.

What is Instagram lead generation?

Instagram lead generation the process of utilizing the Instagram social network to generate and collect leads, email subscribers, or other contact information from prospects.

How effective is Instagram for lead generation?

Instagram is very effective for generation leads because it has billions of users and it is primarily a discovery platform, meaning users are open to discovering new things that align to their interests based on their friends, the accounts (e.g., influencers) they follower, hashtags, and more.

How can I do lead generation through Instagram?

The most effective way to get leads with Instagram is to use Instagram giveaways. With Instagram giveaways the prize incentivizes user to share their information, like an email address to subscribe to your newsletter. You then just need to use an Instagram lead generation tool like POPSMASH to collect and validate the leads.

What are Instagram lead ads (lead generation ads)?

Instagram lead ads are paid advertisements with the specific purpose of capturing leads. These work well but can be expensive on a per lead basis compared to organic Instagram lead generation.

How can I do organic lead generation on Instagram?

Organic lead generation uses non-paid (organic) methods of collecting information (leads) from Instagram users. Giveaways work well here because they give users an incentive to share their information without paying for ads.

How do you make an Instagram lead generation form?

An Instagram lead generation form is where users submit their information. You can use various tools for this as long as you can create the form submission fields and access the information submitted. The POPSMASH Instagram lead generation tool automatically creates Instagram lead generation forms for you.

How can I get leads from Instagram?

Get leads from Instagram by providing an incentive (a reason) for users to submit their information. Running an Instagram giveaway is one of the most effective ways to do this.

Does lead gen on Instagram work?

Yes, Instagram is one of the best channels for lead generation because it has billions of users across thousands of different industries, interests, and niches making it easy to reach much of the consumer market.

Is using Instagram for lead generation worth it?

Yes. According to a recent study by POPSMASH, it’s typical for 30-50% of users who comment Instagram lead generation campaign posts to also provide their email address. With email marketing 10X as effective as social media marketing you can see how that would provide a significant boost to overall marketing ROI

Can you use Instagram stories for lead generation?

Instagram stories are generally better for drawing attention to the post you’re using for Instagram lead generation. For example, if you make a post or reel for your campaign, you can use a story to reach more people and get more visibility.

Do Instagram lead ads work?

Yes, Instagram lead ads work. However, a more cost-effective strategy with higher ROI is to create an organic Instagram lead gen campaign, then boost it with paid ads for more reach. This is the best of both worlds by bringing paid and organic together.

What is the best Instagram lead generation software tool?

POPSMASH is the only lead generation tool purpose-built for getting leads from Instagram, so it is also the most effective.

Wrapping up! 🏆

This guide looked at everything you need to know about using Instagram to get more leads and email subscribers. We covered everything from why creating a direct relationship with your customers is so valuable to using the right incentives to attract those leads and email opt-ins.

So, now that you know what to do and how to do it, get out there and start building your list!

About the author
Gabriel Mays, the Co-Founder and CEO of POPSMASH
Gabriel A. Mays
Gabriel Mays' Website
Co-Founder & CEO at POPSMASH
Before POPSMASH, Gabe was a Director at GoDaddy and founded two startups. He was also a Marine Corps Captain, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He lives with his wife and two kids on Cape Cod, MA.

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